Halloween is upon us, so the Janks Review Crew has taken the liberty to solve your indecisions on what film to watch on the spookiest night of the year, with our list of fun horror films, including snack recommendations. Check out our diverse list of fantastic horror films below (in ascending order by year).
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Director: Roman Polanski
When you find out a satanic cult has evil intentions for your unborn child, what do you do as a pregnant woman? Set in the bustling backdrop of New York City, a young couple buy an apartment in an old building with a dark and mysterious past.
This slow-burn, psychological horror movie is one of the most influential pieces of cinema. Roman Polanski perfectly captures the terror and macabre with subtlety, and the buildup is encapsulating, as the movie unravels into a tale of despair and paranoia, confirming the suspicions of heroine Rosemary, whose own obsession with discovering the truth about her sinister neighbors and abnormal pregnancy morph her character throughout. If you’re looking for a cheap, watered-down jump-scare flick then you’re shit outta luck. Rosemary’s Baby speaks higher volumes and tackles broader themes about the occult, religion, and pregnancy. A landmark thriller, that serves as a more intelligent choice for your Halloween movie night.
A medium-rare steak with a serving of steamed vegetables and baked potatoes. Don’t forget your glass of wine! A film of this caliber deserves a feed with a little more class. Just make sure no one slips any tannis root into your beverage.
Director: Dario Argento
From the king of Giallo horror Dario Argento comes the 1977 horror classic Suspiria, arguably his most notable work. This highly stylized film uses color and sound to enhance the sense of dread, as it follows a ballet dancer who joins a prestigious dance school in Germany, only to discover that the school is hiding some sinister secrets once dead bodies start turning up. Suspiria has inspired a countless number of horror filmmakers and is a must-see for all horror fans, especially those looking for something a bit more unique on Halloween night.
Toffee Apple + assorted hard candy lollies, musk sticks etc.
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Director: John Landis
An American Werewolf in London is one of the OG horror comedies; balancing the two distinctly different genres perfectly. The tongue-in-cheek soundtrack and charismatic leads comprise the film’s charm, while the iconic practical effects solidify An American Werewolf in London as one of, if not the, best werewolf film ever made.
Despite being almost 35 years old, An American Werewolf in London still holds up. The POV shots from the werewolf’s perspective manage to ratchet up the tension and horror while still preserving the mystery. The build-up is slow, and much of the horror is psychological, as lead character David begins losing touch with what’s real and what isn’t. It all culminates in the much loved and lauded transformation scene that set the bar for practical effects, and cemented the John Landis classic as the werewolf film to beat. Nearly 35 years on, it is still the top dog in the genre.
Any Cadbury product, keeping true to the British theme.
Director: Tobe Hooper
It’s that time of year when the horror films come out and people get together to scare themselves. The one movie that I think does that perfectly is Poltergeist. The first time I watched this Steven Spielberg-penned film, it haunted me and continued to do so till my early teen years. But, now that I can appreciate the movie for what it is, I can sit down and grab a tub of popcorn and enjoy its creepy goodness!
Strange things start happening in the Freeling house and when things start to get out of hand, Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) goes missing.
This film is an 80’s masterpiece. With flawless acting and a unique story, you will find yourself invested in this family’s ordeal. One of the biggest complaints about 80’s films is that they’re dated and can’t be watched today with all our advanced technology, well this one is an exception to the rule! The partnership of Tobe Hooper and Spielberg does something special here and it’s a wonder to behold!
Classic popcorn will do the trick here.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Director: Kenny Ortega
If you’re looking for something a little more PG than a serial killer in a cheap mask, then have a watch of the classic Disney Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus.
You know the story: boy moves to new town, boy meets girl, boy tries to impress girl by lighting a magical candle that resurrects three fabulous yet fearsome witches who try to eat them… It’s just not easy being the new kid on the block you know? This film from 1993 put a dream team together for the villains, with Bette Midler (Beaches) front and center, backed up by the hilarious Kathy Najimy (Sister Act) and the inappropriately sexual Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex & the City).
There are so many fun moments that the whole family can enjoy as a group of teens, a talking cat and a zombie try to brutally murder three witches. My personal favorite is probably Bette Midler’s obligatory musical number, but she doesn’t overshadow her supernatural sisters – Najimy’s face is incredible when she uses her super-powered smelling and I don’t know why the director let Sarah Jessica Parker constantly talk about how much she likes little boys, while her corset pushes the limits of a PG rating, but I love Hocus Pocus all the more for it.
Any homemade cookies and icing.
If you’re feeling hardcore you can try and recreate ‘Book’ from the film, but it is a lot of Pinterest-style effort.
They Live (1988)
Director: John Carpenter
Legendary horror film director John Carpenter’s 1988 classic They Live is probably one of his least horrific films but is also one of his best. The film features the late Roddy Piper as a man who uncovers an evil presence that’s been manipulating mankind through the media. The film offers a unique social commentary on how the media affects our subconsciousness, with a horror movie spin, and when you think about it, that’s probably scarier than any slasher or ghost-themed films. The best thing about They Live though is just how funny it is. Everything in the film is tongue-in-cheek, with some brilliant one-liners and great action, which is another element Carpenter does really well.
A bowl of homemade Nachos, because it’s the best easy-viewing movie snack, period.
Director: Wes Craven
Before Saw, before Insidious, before any type of ultra-popular millennial horror film that you could think of, there was Scream.
We probably all know the nuts and bolts of the (late and great) Wes Craven-directed film; masked killer, a mysterious voice on the phone, attractive blondes being slaughtered, and the infamous line ‘Hello, Sydney’. But to watch Scream, to actually experience it in all its simultaneously campy and witty and red-herring-filled 90’s glory, is a whole different experience. Scream may not be the scariest horror film to date, but it’s smart, it’s twisty, and the idea of a masked person creeping around the back of your house whilst engaging you in a conversation about your favorite scary movie is pretty damn creepy.
Watch Scream with a large bowl of toasty buttered popcorn – but make sure the phone doesn’t ring before you’ve served it!
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Director: Robert Rodriguez
The 1996 classic from Robert Rodriguez stars George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino as two violent criminals on the run from the law, when they kidnap a religious family to provide them transportation, but end up taking refuge in a degenerate bar in the desert – that’s hiding some serious bloodsucking menaces. Written by Tarantino, this film has his signature writing style all over it (featuring some brilliant dialogue), and combined with Rodriguez’s directorial vision and their love of extreme violence, this film is definitely one for the ages in the horror genre, and makes for perfect Halloween viewing, especially for vampire-movie fans.
Nachos and Corona Beer.
Knock Knock (2015)
Director: Eli Roth
What’s the Halloween season without some genuine meme cinema to get your blood in suspense!?
As someone who isn’t deep in the gory horror genre or Eli Roth, besides his great appearance in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, I certainly wasn’t up-in-arms giddy to see his sexual horror satire Knock Knock, and to my surprise, I wish I was on the seat’s edge. Starring the almighty Keanu Reeves, his character answering the door to an expected couple of gorgeous, loose women, Roth offers his own take on the sexual politics of cheating in a complete laughing matter way. His vision is that of a meme-ified 90’s Verhoeven movie with no self-seriousness in sight. Reeves discovers no lustful deed goes unpunished when the night after those same women hold Reeves accountable for his deceit. Breaking down into the cinematic blending of Gone Girl meets Nic Cage’s The Wicker Man, Roth makes his film endlessly quotable and visually NSFW – all the way up to the max.
Grab yourself a packet of Red Rock Deli’s Honey Soy Chicken Potato Chips, wrap yourself in a blanket, and prepare for some spooky Halloween kino. This time with sprinkles!!